Dead Man's Shoes
The Last Horror Movie
Shaun Of The Dead
The Weekend Murders
Kiss Of The Vampire
The Devil's Men
Three Cases Of Murder
O Lucky Man


It's surprising that more people haven't done it, but there's an obvious seam of unmined horror in some of the more bloody works of the bard. Macbeth could even be considered to be the original horror story - it's a fact that many of the films reviewed on this site have taken Shakespeare's tale of greed and murder as the basis for their "plots", and spectral warnings from beyond the grave are ten-a-penny in the world of Brit Horror.
But the only other Brit horror films that take advantage of the Bard's work to any real extent are Theatre Of Blood (obviously) and the Desdemona scenes from The Flesh And Blood Show.
Roman Polanski's pretty straightforward take on Macbeth is a bloody, muddy affair, tinged with an uneasy realisation that the director made this to purge his demons following the Manson family's murder of Sharon Tate.
He even steers away from any suggestion that Duncan's murder is down to ghostly goings-on. The blame is laid squarely at Macbeth's feet, with a certain amount of responsibility being taken by his saucy wife. The "witches" are revolting, but definitely real - refusing to vanish into thin air (as described in the play) and instead disappearing into their underground hole through a very solid door. Macbeth's visions of moving trees and sons not of woman born are brought on by him drinking a truly hideous brew, and the appearance of Banquo (Martin Shaw) shaking his extremely gory locks is shown to be brought on by Macbeth's psychosis.
But enough cod anology. Luckily, the film is also very good, from the opening scenes of the battle aftermath (soldiers roam a corpse-strew beach, battering the twitching bodies), to the final confrontation between a cocky Macbeth and a deeply unhappy Macduff.
Polanski gives the whole film a kind of shabby glamour, but never lets his arty aspirations get in the way of telling a good story. Macbeth's castle is a fairytale palace from the outside, but realistically grimey inside. Each death is violent and bloody, but always realistically so. The only thing that lets it down is an inability to take it seriously, because it looks so much like Monty Python And The Holy Grail (especially during the bizarrely speeded-up final battle). But that's hardly Polanski's fault.

Macbeth (1970)
Director: Roman Polanski Writer(s): Roman Polanski, William Shakespeare (play), Kenneth Tynan
Cast: Jon Finch - Macbeth, Francesca Annis - Lady Macbeth, Martin Shaw - Banquo, Terence Bayler - Macduff, John Stride - Ross, Nicholas Selby - Duncan, Stephen Chase - Malcolm, Paul Shelley - Donalbain, Maisie MacFarquhar - First Witch, Elsie Taylor - Second Witch, Noelle Rimmington - Third Witch, Noel Davis - Seyton, Sydney Bromley - Porter, Richard Pearson - Doctor, Patricia Mason - Gentlewoman, Michael Balfour - First Murderer, Andrew McCulloch - Second Murderer, Keith Chegwin - Fleance, Andrew Laurence - Lennox, Bernard Archard - Angus, Bruce Purchase - Caithness, Frank Wylie - Menteith, Diane Fletcher - Lady Macduff, Mark Dightam - Macduff's Son, Bill Drysdale - King's Groom, Roy Jones - King's Groom, Vic Abbott - Cowdor, Ian Hogg - First Thane, Geoffrey Reed - Second Thane, Nigel Ashton - Third Thane, William Hobbs - Young Seyward, Alf Joint - Old Seyward, Paul Hennen - Doctor's Apprentice, Olga Anthony - Dancer, Roy Desmond - Dancer, David Ellison - Old Soldier, Pamela Foster - Dancer, Clement Freud - Hanging man, John Gordon - Dancer, Barbara Ann Grimes - Dancer, Aud Johansen - Dancer, Janie Kells - Dancer, Howard Lang - Old Soldier, Dickie Martyn - Dancer, Terence Mountain - Soldier, Beth Owen - Dancer, Christina Paul - Dancer, Maxine Skelton - Dancer, Don Vernon - Dancer, Anna Willoughby - Dancer